I woke up to the din of highway traffic in the distant background. White line fever noise. It’s Banning, California and I woke up one minute before the alarm went off. My first thought was how cool was that that I was able to train my body to get up at a specific time. My second thought was why the hell was I setting an alarm.
Being the boy scout (notice the lower case) that I am I borrowed Ted’s Jeep and drove into town (1 mile) to get coffees and croissants. Ted kept calling it a bagel. Did I mention that Ted opened the hotel room door completely naked? Even upon returning with said croissants he answered the door completely naked. I definitely need to go over the rules again with Ted. There is a mandatory clothing requirement.
Gassed up and on the road by 8 am. Kelly mentioned we need to be in Guero Negro by sundown. My phone isn’t working and I can’t map that yet. When I do, I realize it’s about 8 and half hours away. Have you ever sat in one position for 8 and half hours?
We have to stop for a date shake. Apparently dates are the crop in the Palm Desert and Kelly makes us get one. 5000 calories later we pull into a Big 5 to buy sleeping bags, snorkels and masks.
About 100 yards before the border Ted lets us know that he doesn’t have his car registration or proof of insurance with him. No problem. He drives through and we get red-lighted and have to pull over to get checked by the Mexican Marines. It’s no big deal and we’re through. Now we have to pull over and get tourist visas. We do. I’m feeling very law abiding at the moment. Then Ted says he has to hit the Farmicia to buy some “stuff.”
Kelly and I wait in the car as Ted buys some “stuff.” It’s all legal stuff. It turns out that it’s just a lot cheaper down here. He’s got a bag full of balms, salves, creams and suppositories. We don’t ask.
About 7 hours in we encounter the end of the road, literally. The paved highway just stops and turns into a rocky dirt path for the next 25 miles. I’m driving and it’s pretty tough going. 25 miles per hour tops as I maneuver over large rocks, divots, and cliffs. At about 12 miles in we come to Coco’s Corner. This pit stop, at best, in the middle of nowhere is where one can stop and have a cold beer. The place is decorated with empty beer cans, bras, and weird knick knacks from passersby.
One the road again, Ted decides to drive. Picture this: Ted driving 50 mph over rough terrain, the Who Live at Leeds blaring full blast, Kelly in the back seat finally getting a beer and me video taping the entire experience. There are no words.
Somehow I’m at the wheel again and we’re about 100 clicks (kilometers) outside of Guero Negro. The gas tank is on empty. The fuel light has come on and we’re many miles before the next gas station. We all start to get a little nervous. I’ve already worked out a plan in my head about sleeping in the desert. That’s all there is to it. I’ll have to use that new sleeping bag, wrap myself up and hope the night scorpions or gigante desert rats don’t eat me in the middle of the night.
It all seems hopeless and the mood is hitting an all time low at this point. Even devil-may-care Ted is considering siphoning the fuel out of the outboard motor on the roof just to get us 8 more miles down the road.
Well thank you, Sister Mary Consuelo Guadalupe of the Desert, my prayers have been answered. We spot a Pemex sign up ahead and drift in on half a fume. The station attendants’ eyes all lit up at the liters we needed. Never in the history of Baja California has anyone braved the 25-mile road of death on so little fuel.
A few more miles and we arrived at Guero Negro. Check in. Eat. Blog. Sleep.